AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons were struggling through a rare off night Thursday.
Fortunately for them, Rasheed Wallace picked up a technical foul.
As has become his trademark, Wallace turned up his game after the technical, scoring 11 of his game-high 28 points in a key fourth-quarter surge to lift the Detroit Pistons to an 88-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.
“Sheed thrives on controversy,” Ben Wallace said. “Everyone knows that.”
With Detroit leading 70-64 early in the fourth, Wallace hit four straight shots—three from 3-point range—in 97 seconds to put the game away.
“That game was ugly by any description,” said Chauncey Billups. “But Sheed finally got cooking and carried us home. We’ll take it.”
Wallace picked up the technical after he was called for elbowing Indiana rookie Danny Granger.
“How can I throw an elbow at a guy when I’m catching the ball out of the net and throwing it,” he asked. “That’s bull in my book. It’s felonious.”
The win was Detroit’s first at home against Indiana since April 4, 2004. Indiana won both meetings at the Palace last year—the first ended early by the infamous brawl and the second delayed by a bomb threat aimed at the Pacers locker room.
“I thought we might have played 10 to 13 minutes of championship basketball tonight,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “We won the game, but there are things we need to work on.”
There were no such incidents in this one, in which Ben Wallace added 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for the Pistons, while Billups had 14 points and nine assists.
“Ben erases a lot of mistakes for us,” Saunders said. “He was unbelievable with everything he was doing.”
Stephen Jackson led the Pacers with 15 points and Peja Stojakovic added 14.
“We were right there in the fourth until Rasheed hit that stretch,” Stojakovic said. “That was the difference. That put them up 20, and there’s not much you can do after that.”
Indiana finished with 22 turnovers and forced only 12.
“That was a big part of the game,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you turn it over 22 times for 30 points, you aren’t going to beat a top team.”
Detroit led 46-41 at the half, thanks to 13 points from Rasheed Wallace. The Pistons led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, but the Pacers pulled within 63-59 late in the period.
The Pistons, though, scored the last four points, all from the free-throw line, to lead by eight going into the fourth.
The teams traded baskets to start the final 12 minutes, and Billups added a free throw when David Harrison received a technical foul after arguing a call.
After Jackson split a pair from the line, Rasheed Wallace hit a jumper and followed it with three straight 3-pointers for an 11-0 run and a 81-64 lead with 7:40 left.
Detroit led by as many as 20 before the Pacers reserves put together a rally in the final minutes that came too late.
The Pistons had six blocked shots in the first half and 11 in the game, including a rare one by Richard Hamilton. Hamilton tipped away a Jackson 3-pointer for just his seventh of the season. … Rasheed Wallace blocked the 1,000th shot of his career moments after his technical. He is the 68th NBA player to reach the milestone, joining teammates Ben Wallace and Dale Davis. … The Pistons have used the same starting lineup in all 53 games. Only the 2002-03 Warriors (66 games) have had a longer streak to begin the season since 1980.